The Q&A Archives: Forcing Tulips

Question: I am trying to force tulips for late winter enjoyment in my home. I have planted these in a mixture of potting soil and compost (a fairly light mixutre). I have placed these outdoors in an enclosed area and assume the temperature will stay at about 30-40 degress. When should I bring them to a warmer temp to start the force and appoximately what temp should this be, i.e. about 60 degrees. I am hoping to have these flowers available for around the end of February. They were set out about 2 weeks agoand are in plastic bags to retain moisture. I am also interested in forcing paperwhites and lily of the valley for the late winter months. Is the process similar and am I on the right track?<br>

Answer: Generally tulips need 12-14 weeks of chilling at those temperatures before they can be forced indoors. Check your potted bulbs for top growth in mid January. If you see green sprouts, gradually bring the container into light and warmth. If you see no green, check again in a week or two. <br>Also, the paperwhites don't need chilling so they can be stored in a cool dark spot until 4-6 weeks before you want them to be in bloom. Then pot, water and bring them up into a warm, sunny room to grow.

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